Here's how boyfriend Paul Prenter betrayed Queen's lead singer Freddie Mercury | Covering the Intersections of Race, Culture, Sexuality, and Fashion | 48min Here's how boyfriend Paul Prenter betrayed Queen's lead singer Freddie Mercury | Covering the Intersections of Race, Culture, Sexuality, and Fashion | 48min

Here’s how boyfriend Paul Prenter betrayed Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury

If you saw the Bohemian Rhapsody movie than you’re familiar with the “villainy” of Paul Prenter, Freddie Mercury’s boyfriend and manager from 1977 to 1986.

We’re not certain how accurate the film was in portraying Prenter, played by British actor Allen Leech, in terms of his manipulative and opportunistic ways as explained in this blurb from The Metro (spoilers):

Not only does he trick Mercury into firing band manager John Reid (Aidan Gillen), but he then tries to interfere with Queen’s musical direction, before taking Mercury to Berlin, keeping him away from the rest of the band and Mercury’s best friend Mary

One thing is certain, Prenter sold stories on Mercury and this Daily Mirror article does a really great job of summarizing some of the facts on how Prenter did betray Mercury by selling stories of the flamboyant star to the tabloids.

Paul Prenter Exposes Mercury; Sells Stories and His Soul

What the film did get right was that after Mercury and Prenter broke up after Mercury decided to give up drinking, drugs and partying. After that, the vindictive former DJ ran to sell his Freddie Mercury stories to the media.

Prenter held nothing back sharing details about Mercury’s personal life, his lovers and vices. He claimed Mercury had slept with hundreds of men and that two of his former lovers had died of AIDs.

‘Freddie was so scared he would catch it. “It was more likely that I would see him walk on water than go with a woman,” Prenter said. “Once his friends started dying, Freddie knew his wild life had to stop…. Freddie told me his first homosexual relationship happened when he was at boarding school in India when he was 14,” he said. “While we were touring there would be a different man every night, He would probably go to bed by 6am or 7am – but rarely alone. He has a fear of sleeping alone, or even being alone for long stretches.’

When that interview came out, Prenter was still Mercruy’s manager. Needless to say, Mercury fired Prenter as his manger immediately after the story broke.

However, that didn’t stop the horrible Prenter from continuing to get back at Mercury and sell their most-personal stories to the tabloids. According to Mercury’s partner Jim Hutton, Queen’s lead singer felt what Prenter did was was the ultimate betrayal. Hutton recounts another Mercury tabloid story in his book Mercury and Me

“On May 4, Freddie was devastated by another story about him in the Sun. And so was I. His old friend, Paul Prenter had stitched him up. “Aids Kills Freddie’s Two Lovers, it declared, and the story was run across three pages. Tony Bastin, from Brighton, and John Murphy, an airline steward, had died from the disease in 1986. And Prenter claimed that Freddie had called him late one night and poured out his fears about Aids.”

Keep in mind that this was in the 1980s when AIDS was at it’s worst — not only was it a death sentence, but the hysteria and stigma of the autoimmune disease would have ruined Mercury’s reputation for years to come. All this, as the Hutton mentioned, so Prenter could get paid.

“We later learned that Prenter had been paid about £32,000 by the paper for his story,” Hutton wrote. “Freddie never spoke to him again. For the next few days there was more in the Sun, and at each episode of Prenter’s story Freddie became angrier. Prenter sold the paper several photographs of Freddie with various lovers and these were thrown over two pages under the heading All The Queen’s Men.”

“…what I found out was he was never more than an arm’s length away from Freddie, he was always whispering in his ear, on his shoulder. That was very telling.” Leech told The Metro when speaking about how he researched the Prenter role. “Once I saw that and saw how he acted and the control he tried to have over Freddie, even in the party or clubbing situation, that was very telling for me.”

What Happened to Paul Prenter?

As far as we know, the two never reconciled. That’s completely understandable for Mercury whom felt completely betrayed by someone that he considered a confidant and family. In August 1991, four years after selling his stories to the British tabloids, Prenter died from AIDS-related complications.

Freddie Mercury would pass away three months later on November 23, 1991. Mercury confirmed that he had AIDS a day before he died.


  • Shannon J Jackson commented on April 18, 2019 Reply

    The best voice I’ve ever heard… I love every song. Rest In peace Freddy Mercury

    • Kitty Foley commented on June 17, 2019 Reply

      First time I cried all day… I lost my best friend. To this day, there’s never been anyone who could hold a candle to him.

      • Stve commented on October 28, 2019 Reply

        You need to check out Marc Martel….oretty damn close

      • Steve commented on October 28, 2019 Reply

        You need to check out Marc Martel….pretty darn close

        • Emma commented on May 29, 2020 Reply

          I think Kitty meant that no one has been able to talent-wise, not necessarily style-wise or in technique. Marc Martel’s talent is in imitating Freddie, not in creating original work that is as unequivocally brilliant as Freddie’s.
          In terms of original talent, you might want to check out MCR’s second and third albums, they’re a lot darker than Queen, but they (MCR) were inspired by Queen’s theatricality and put their own darker spin on it that you can’t help but grin in figuring out the story.

  • Mireya Delgado commented on April 30, 2019 Reply

    I love queen and honestly hate Paul prenter because if it wouldn’t have been for him Freddie would atill be here and he would’ve been successful with his singing. RIP FREDDIE MERCURY

    • Paula commented on May 4, 2019 Reply

      Unfortunately, it was everywhere and people weren’t being careful. He would have caught it eventually.

      • Valerie commented on July 19, 2019 Reply

        Paul didn’t kill Freddie lol AIDS did! You’re an awkward person

        • Nikki commented on October 25, 2019 Reply

          Valerie, I believe you’re the one who’s being awkward. She didn’t say Paul killed him, she said AIDS was rampant and catching it was inevitable, which it was.

      • Ella Billik commented on October 28, 2019 Reply


        • JanDeFrank commented on May 18, 2020 Reply

          What an ass. He got his. Screwing over Freddie may have made him a few bucks, but the rest of his life was nothing. I was a young groupie around L.A. in the 70s, and the first time I heard Bohemiam Rapsody it was like I found the holy grail!! They KNEW me! It was wonderful….

    • KT commented on May 6, 2019 Reply

      I totally agree! He took Freddie into the deep bowels of the gay club scene—where there was major gratuitous sex—with multiple partners— and major drugging going on. I just don’t think Freddie would have delved that deep into that side of the gay scene, if it were not for that bastard Prenter. I think had Freddie not died, Queen would have continued to write, sing and experiment with all genres to this day. He is deeply missed, but I am happy that the existing members of Queen are still rocking on and crediting Freddie for his mind-blowing contributions to the band. Love them all! Rock on Forever Freddie! ❤️

      • joe commented on May 12, 2019 Reply

        He chose to live that lifestyle no one made him do it. Everyone is responsible for their own actions.

        • Susan commented on June 3, 2019 Reply

          I agree 1000%

          • Ella Billik commented on October 28, 2019

            except for Paul. i will forever hate him. i dont even care i your right. i am glad he is gone forever.

    • joe commented on May 12, 2019 Reply

      Ridiculous statement. Freddie isn’t here because he lived a destructive lifestyle with hundreds of homosexual partners. He died from the consequences of his lifestyle (AIDS) not because of Paul.

      • Ted commented on July 31, 2019 Reply

        Everyone is responsible for their own actions, yes. But I can’t say that I agree with the notion that there is anything inherently ‘destructive’ about having multiple sexual partners, homosexual or straight. I would say that it could be somewhat dangerous to have unprotected sex with multiple partners, but if you’re being careful and safe, then there’s nothing destructive or dangerous really. Multiple rabbit holes this conversation could go down, but I just wanted to make that point.

        • Sara Carroll commented on August 13, 2019 Reply

          Freddie was entitled to have sex with whomever he chose to.
          Having lots of sex with lots of people isn’t destructive! That is moral crap.

          Sex is sex. Most people love it and its meant that way.
          Aids is a disease and its nothing to do with absurd morals.
          Freddie was beautiful in every way.
          He did what he wanted. People should take a leaf out of his book.

          • Nickel commented on September 28, 2019

            You are nuts! He’s dead because of his lifestyle! Immortality will do that! The more partners you have the bigger the risk! Thinkingike that wl get you caught up! Diddy train your kids to think that way. A whore is a whore, male or female!

          • Nickel commented on September 28, 2019

            You are nuts! He’s dead because of his lifestyle! Immortality will do that! The more partners you have the bigger the risk! Thinking like that will get you caught up! Don’t train your kids to think that way. A whore is a whore, male or female!

          • Ruby jacobs commented on February 11, 2020

            that’s why his ass died at a early age, I agree if Prenter did not push the gay crap he probably wouldn’t have dipped in it because he loved his female friend till the end!

      • David Alexander commented on August 24, 2019 Reply

        Not the consequences of a lifestyle, but of a disease. Don’t write if you are ignorant or mean-hearted

  • Star commented on May 7, 2019 Reply

    Prenter a narcissistic control freak and manipulator was most likely the culprit who gave Freddie and Freddie’s 2 lovers the HIV.
    RIP Freddie you are a good spirit. Forever loved Freddie by all us fans.

    • Pup commented on October 2, 2019 Reply

      Wtf??? Really???
      Millenial idiots lol

  • Peter Svensson commented on May 21, 2019 Reply

    I live in Sweden and was informed about AIDS 1985. I’m not gay, but still, since I got that info I acted with care every time it came to sex. Freddie must have known about AIDS before me, but still he just went on like a suicidal candidate. I love Freddie and Queen. I found the first album it’s first week on the market and I still think it’s their best album side by side with Bohemian rapsodie. Freddies lifestyle was manipulated by the fucking Paul Prenter, may his name, body and soul burn in hell forever! But he let someone do this to him, it wasn’t smart. It was idiotic. Freddie was an idiot, no one can say otherwise. Being in such a self-denial that you let someone control you against suicide, whispers about completely different problems. Whatever it was, R.I.P. Freddie! We continue to hear your sing as an angel.

    • Nikki commented on October 25, 2019 Reply

      Firstly, life is not perfect in Sweden – people know this, so no need to announce this every chance you get. Secondly, to insinuate that in 1985 everyone should have been aware and educated on AIDS is absolutely ridiculous! There was so much misinformation and taboo surrounding it because we literally knew almost nothing about it – medicine didn’t really start to fully understand it until much later (yes, even in Sweden). Thirdly, based on the timeline, he more than likely caught it around or close to 10 years prior, no one would have even been aware of the disease at all. I wish folks could be as disgusted with their ignorance as they are disgusting.

  • Pamela Jasniewski commented on May 25, 2019 Reply

    RIP Freddie Mercury
    Your talent still lives on. God Bless Queen

  • Cheryl commented on June 3, 2019 Reply

    Freddie will live on in spirit thru his music

  • Cheryl commented on June 3, 2019 Reply

    He is an astute showman both funny and serious and what an entertainer he was a shame he passed too soon rest in peace kind soul

  • Debbie commented on June 3, 2019 Reply

    We all love Freddie and would of been great if he was still alive. He would still be one of greater singer.

  • Tina Markley commented on June 4, 2019 Reply

    Freddie passed away November 24th, 1991 NOT the 23th as this article states.

  • David commented on June 15, 2019 Reply

    AIDS isn’t an autoimmune disease brought on by HIV, a retrovirus. They are not even remotely similar. Still a very sad thing. Freddie was a legend and deserved waaaay better.

    • Ted commented on July 31, 2019 Reply

      I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here, but you got one thing right, kinda, sorta.

      AIDS is not a disease, that is what you got kind of right. What AIDS is, however, is a syndrome. That syndrome most definitely is caused by HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), which, as you said, is a retrovirus.

      AIDS and HIV are most definitely related, b/c one causes the other, but not vice-versa. In other words, you CAN have HIV but not AIDS, but you can NOT have AIDS without having HIV.

  • Sharon crum commented on June 22, 2019 Reply

    Yes Freddie was the best!!

  • Karen Zoller commented on July 4, 2019 Reply

    Ah we can all sell our souls through the sins of men. No one is psrfect. We all have our boxes and addictions. I don’t condone Freedom’s Ctions not do I condemn them I did not know him but I do know he is one of the best performers, vocalist of the utmost talent. He is a legend and his personal life does not change the gift he had. Pure poetry . How I love his voice and connection to the audience. You are truly missed. The new song Time waits for nobody gave me goosebumps and brought tears. RIP Fredie Mercury. Never will we forget QUEEN.

  • Kara commented on July 6, 2019 Reply

    Can’t we all just agree that Freddy was an unforgettable entertainer with a life he chose to live his way. Those who loved him and were his “friends” will always remember his unique, special loving soul. We all live our lives they way we choose (so to speak) accidents happen life goes on… the good, the great should be remember more than the wicked. It is not our place to judge. We all have thoughts good or bad… we can give our thoughts voice our opinions but in the end unless you’ve lived in that persons soul from beginning to end… you can not choose their path for them….you should just appreciate what made them good, what made them great … think of the beautiful things and let their mistakes or what you see as a bad past… a life lesson stay where it should in the past…. he was truly talented and so unique in his own way…. I will remember him always in the very best way.

  • Vicki allen commented on July 7, 2019 Reply

    Grew up with this totally awesome grouplived the movie except the ugly part played by paulwhat a horrible person and I hope his days wherever he may be are filled with karmawhat a PHENOMINAL tribute to such a great band… great musicians and a part of history that will go on forever!!! Freddie will forever be loved and his talent will never be forgottenR.I.P. OUR PRINCE… OUR WUEEN

  • Robin Dorantes commented on July 12, 2019 Reply

    He & George Michael are two unequalled voices I’m sorry to have missed in person. His incredible flamboyance & voice are legendary!

  • Katherine Glosser commented on July 15, 2019 Reply

    Phenominal movie. Loved Queen before but this was, I don’t know how to explain it. I’m in love with a dead man. A beautiful, vivacious, warm hearted man.

  • Sonia commented on July 15, 2019 Reply

    No one to this day can sing or entertain on stage like Freddie so talented in many ways even his drawings and paintings he made. The one he did of Jimi Hendrix amazing. Exotic one of a kind Freddie we will Always love you your songs and your band Queen.

  • Biff Tanner commented on August 7, 2019 Reply

    Dead Fag

    • Jan commented on September 14, 2019 Reply

      Biff, how eloquently put. One can surmise from your post that 1.You don’t have a life and spend your free time trolling or 2.You are still in the closet and make remarks like this to prove to yourself and others you are a “manly” man and as it pertains to you I use that word loosely. Your manliness would be about as big as a pimple on Freddie Mercurie’s butt. What defines a man isn’t his sexual preference, it’s how he lived it. Thank God, Freddie Mercury lived and loved. He gave us beautiful music that will live forever around the world. You posted three words that will probably last forever which will show you as being ignorant, more than likely your lack of education and lack of any kind of knowledge of vocabulary, other than on a 3rd grade level. Great way to leave your mark.

  • Nicky commented on August 30, 2019 Reply


  • Allison Payne commented on October 21, 2019 Reply

    Freddie’s death changed the way the world thought of AIDS. FREDDIE KNEW THAT WOULD BE THE CASE. Anyway, I love the man and his story. He was an Arab man living like a White man. And he was a star…a legend. No one can fuck with him.! He was a badass!

  • Janice Bramon commented on November 9, 2019 Reply

    I liked the story because, though I have heard of Queen, I knew nothing about. Freddy Mercury. I had no knowledge of previous history to be dissatisfied with. With that being said. The reason why Freddie Mercury and others during that time contracted AIDS is because the valuable health information was not shared to all people in the world. Blood donors and users, health personnel, drug users of any kind, unprotected sex etc. I just saw the Ryan White story. I was disturbing. Health official didn’t want to say anything for sake of losing money. Over 4000 hemmophilliac children died in the 80s.

  • Bren commented on November 23, 2019 Reply

    Freddie Mercury God rest your beautiful soul, and keep your big smile in the sky’s xxxxx happy heavenly anniversary xxxx

  • Jennifer commented on December 9, 2019 Reply

    Bill, how did you grow so much hate in your heart. Freddie was not only a talented man, he was kind and compassionate man. As a medical professional, I’ll tell you that one didn’t know about this disease until it was too late. The incubation period is too long. I wonder what people will think of you one day?. What horrible names will you be called. Do onto others as you would have them do to onto you.

  • Angelique commented on January 30, 2020 Reply

    Agree to disagree on everyone’s comment here. People choose their own paths in life. Unfortunately for Freddy he got caught up in a vicious circul.Fame got the better of him aswell. He trusted Paul during that time and got blindsided it happens to the best of us. Let God do the judging when the time comes. Infact his life story people should take seriously. There is valuable lessons to learn of it. He had a talent and will be remembered by it. A legend he will be. God bless his soul

  • Lorie commented on August 21, 2020 Reply

    i am just so heartbroken because the beloved Freddie Mercury suffered immencely.He was in indescribable pain . He could not walk so he had to be carried to the bathroom. Brian said that Freddie lost most of his foot. The terrible AIDS literally ate him up. This is what hurts me so much. To die suddenly is better than a long painful death. Freddie was a very kind and trusting person. He trusted Prenter too much. People have to figure out who is a real sincere friend.I do not trust anyone I had a no good ex husband that I trusted and he betrayed me so from then on I do not trust anyone. It feels bad to always be on your guard but it is better that being destroyed like Freddie was when he found out about Prenter’s true character. Brian, Roger and John and Mary Austin were his real friends I love Frddie and he should sill be here with us today like the other band members..

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